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Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question:
Last Friday saw the release of Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things to Come,” one of two new films starring Isabelle Huppert. In the lede of his review for The New York Times, A.O. Scott asked “Isabelle Huppert: Great actress, or greatest actress?” Huppert is certainly near the very top of the list, but we thought we’d take this opportunity to open the question to our panel of critics: Who is the best working actress in the world today?
Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker
A vote for someone else isn’t a vote against Isabelle Huppert, who is among the very greatest »
- David Ehrlich
Veteran’s Day is November 11. While we all try to escape from the most exasperating Presidential Campaign in our history let me pay tribute to the Men and Women who have served in the military to insure we keep our electoral process and our freedoms.
Having served in the Navy four years (there he goes again!) I have a keen interest in any movie about the military, especially the sea service. I did serve during peace time so had no experience with combat but still spent most of my tour of duty at sea on an aircraft carrier, the USS Amerca CV66. Among other jobs I ran the ship’s television station for almost two years. Movies have always been important to me and so providing a few hours of entertainment every day when we were at sea was just about the best job I could have had.
The author »
- Sam Moffitt
Friends and family of Robin Williams gathered in New York City on Wednesday night to honor the late comedian and to mark the opening of a new acting center that bears his name.
“I think of him as my brother,” said Whoopi Goldberg, who partnered with Williams and Billy Crystal on a series of Comic Relief fundraising specials. “He was my big brother and the funniest person that I knew, and anybody that dared to be as free as he did, has a shot to be as good as he was. That’s the legacy. He dares you to be as good if you can be as free.”
Goldberg was joined at the event by Crystal, as well as Hank Azaria, Bonnie Hunt, Carol Kane, Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue, and Barry Levinson, who directed Williams to an Oscar nomination in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
Crystal told reporters that the occasion was a bittersweet one. »
- Brent Lang
The sad news for fans of film comedy spread like wildfire earlier this week. Here’s the opening paragraph facts from the New York Times:
Gene Wilder, who established himself as one of America’s foremost comic actors with his delightfully neurotic performances in three films directed by Mel Brooks; his eccentric star turn in the family classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”; and his winning chemistry with Richard Pryor in the box-office smash “Stir Crazy,” died early Monday morning at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83.
A nephew, the filmmaker Jordan Walker-Pearlman, confirmed his death in a statement, saying the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.
And what an actor. That’s from the »
- Jim Batts
29 August 2016 3:38 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
Although she's now starring in Tina Fey's Netflix comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Carol Kane never thought she had a comedic bone in her body. That all changed with one phone call from Gene Wilder. "I had only done dramatic work. I had done a movie called Hester Street, a low-budget independent black and white movie, and I got nominated for best actress. And after I didn't work for a solid year. The first and only phone call that came through after that was from Gene. He said, 'You want to be my costar in a Hollywood movie?' It was
- Brian Porreca
Rob Leane Aug 3, 2016
Contains spoilers for Gotham season 2.
If you read my Gotham reviews on this site, you’ll know that – more often that not – they feature gushing praise for Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as Oswald Cobblepot. Over two seasons, he’s taken Penguin from a shuffling lackey to the king of Gotham and then down into a big ol’ personal disaster in season 2, with Oswald remaining the Mvp of the show despite his topsy-turvy, tumultuous peronal life. It was exciting, then, to chat to Robin Lord Taylor about all things Gotham back in June....
So I was noodling around on Twitter a bit this morning.
Uh oh. [Laughs]
And I was just wondering, what is it about being in London that makes you say ‘the C word’ so much? »
As an actress, Meryl Streep has been lauded for never hitting a false note. But by warbling off key as a opera-loving socialite in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” the star is likely to land a record 20th Oscar nomination. At the very least, she will be a contender for next year’s Academy Awards — and a lock for a Golden Globe nomination in the best musical/comedy category.
“Florence Foster Jenkins” doesn’t hit theaters until Aug. 12. But Paramount Pictures is trying to build early buzz for the film, which screened early on Monday night at a Peggy Siegal event. Tastemakers in attendance included Barbara Walters, Rufus Wainwright, Carol Kane and host Renee Fleming.
The last time Streep played a character who performed at Carnegie Hall was in 1999’s “Music of the Heart,” as a Harlem school music conductor. Florence Foster Jenkins isn’t as skilled onstage. She’s a wealthy patron of the arts who moonlights as a faulty opera singer, giving her final performance at the landmark Manhattan concert venue. But the running joke of the dramedy directed by Stephen Frears is that Florence doesn’t know how bad her voice really is.
Another actress may have turned the part into a thin parody. But Streep, who has embodied no shortage of real-life people from Margaret Thatcher to Donald Trump, finds new ways to bring Florence to life. Her interpretation comes across like Julia Child meets Susan Boyle, even if Florence doesn’t have the natural talent either of those women. Streep not only studied with a dialect coach to perfect the terrible singing (a hysterical feat that will certainly appeal to actors in the Academy branch), she wears a 40-pound rubber prosthetic for the role.
“It was sort of interesting at the end of the day to take it off,” Streep said at a post-screening Q&A moderated by Tony-winning costume designer William Ivey Long. “I’ve done this before — to wear a different body, it helps you sympathize with the person. It changes the way you move. It gives you the character, and I was suddenly in the body of my grandmother.”
Streep is always celebrated for her dramatic parts, but she’s under-appreciated as a comedienne (despite her Oscar nod in 1990’s “Postcards from the Edge”). She got rare mixed reviews in dark comedies like 1989’s “She-Devil” and 1992’s “Death Becomes Her.” But one of her best recent performances was in 2009’s “It’s Complicated,” as a divorcee having an affair with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin). It didn’t earn awards attention, because Streep received an Oscar nomination that year instead for portraying Julia Child in Nora Ephron’s “Julie and Julia” (a soufflé of an impersonation also grounded in comedic touches).
Sadly, this could again be another weak year for actresses in the movies. The two heavyweight Oscar contenders of the year so far (“Manchester by the Sea” and “A Birth of a Nation”) center on male protagonists. Even if “Florence Foster Jenkins” performs modestly at the box office, it could coast into the Oscars race. It feels similar in tone to Frears’ 2005 London period piece “Miss Henderson Presents.” That picture went on to garner an Academy Award nomination for its leading lady Judi Dench.
On Monday night, Streep didn’t sit through the entire film. But when she arrived at the theater, she was horrified that the volume was too high, and quickly had it fixed. “I can’t be everywhere,” she said, with a dramatic sigh.
- Ramin Setoodeh
Valerie Harper is a fighter. "I'm doing better, very well!" Harper, 76, told Access Hollywood at the Elle Hosts Women in Comedy Event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, which she attended with her close friend and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Carol Kane. Harper, best known for her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Harper beat lung cancer in 2009 but revealed in 2013 she is battling terminal brain cancer. "My dear friend came running over when I first told her [about my diagnosis]," Harper said, motioning to Kane, 63. "That was, what, four years ago? And I had three months to live!" According to Harper, Kane »
- Aurelie Corinthios
Emmy voters love Allison Janney, who already has a total of six statuettes for her work on three different shows — “The West Wing,” “Mom” and “Masters of Sex.” Janney looks to be a sure thing to land a third consecutive nomination for her work on “Mom” this year, having won the last two years in a row.
Can anyone overtake Janney? Perhaps previous winner Julie Bowen, who continues to score nominations even when other “Modern Family” co-stars have dropped off the list. If there’s a surge of love for the former champ, her co-star Sofia Vergara could also score another nomination.
There are plenty of previous nominees who have yet to win, including Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”), Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”), Gaby Hoffmann (“Transparent”), Jane Krakowski (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and Niecy Nash (“Getting On”). Hoffmann’s co-stars Judith Light and Amy Landecker also had standout years, while HBO »
- Jenelle Riley
Burbank, CA (May 24, 2016) – Building on the momentum of its wildly successful first season, Gotham turned up the heat with a villain-centric second season that has elevated the series to No. 2 among Fox shows*. Fans have the chance to prepare for this fall’s suspenseful third season with the August 16, 2016 release of Gotham: The Complete Second Season on Blu-rayTM including Digital HD and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Wbhe).
*Source: Nielsen National TV View L+7 Men 12-17 Us AA%; excluding repeats, specials, sports, and <2 TCs; Season To-Date = 9/21/15-2/7/16
The Wbhe release of the Gotham: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray including Digital HD ($54.97 Srp) and DVD ($49.99 Srp) includes all 22 episodes of the series’ thrilling second, as well as fascinating featurettes, Gotham’s 2015 Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes and a gag reel. Gotham: The Complete Second Season is also available to own on Digital HD via purchase from digital retailers. »
- ComicMix Staff
Now that you have had a few days to come down from the season finale of Gotham, you may have started wondering when you can own the home video release. Thankfully, Fox and Warner Bros. opted to not wait very long at all to announce that the complete second season will arrive on Blu-Ray on August 16. One would also expect a DVD release on that very date, but it remains unclear whether or not it will contain all of the featurettes included on its mighty Blu-Ray counterpart.
Speaking of featurettes, a full rundown can be found in the official press release, along with a thorough synopsis and cast details. We also have the front cover art to share with you, which bears what may be the coolest piece of promo art circulated for this past season.
- Eric Joseph
Producers Michael Rabinowitz and Ira Deutchman have optioned the stage rights to the 1975 indie-film success “Hester Street,” planning to produce a New York theatrical adaptation of the title in consultation with the movie’s writer-director, Joan Micklin Silver (“Crossing Delancey”).
An early victory in the industry for a female filmmaker, “Hester Street” rang in more than $6 million at the box office, which represented a robust take for an independent film in the 1970s. Star Carol Kane snagged an Oscar nomination for her turn as a young Jewish immigrant who has trouble assimilating into her new life on the Lower East Side. Doris Roberts and Steven Keats also appeared in the film, based on an 1896 novella by Abraham Cahan.
The stage version is intended to be a play with music — that is, a straight play that incorporates live musical performances. Deutchman said he and Rabinowitz have begun discussions with a handful »
- Gordon Cox
Famous Monsters. Welcome, Dale! Please, sit for a spell and tell us a little bit about the new film you are in, Regression, and the role you play.
Dale Dickey. At its core, Regression is a suspense thriller set in rural Minnesota dealing with a young girl’s cry of rape by her Father, leading a detective (Ethan Hawke), along with a psychoanalyst and a priest, to uncover the possibility of a satanic cult. Stemming from the mass ‘cult’ hysteria in the 1980s, it questions the use of regression therapy in helping to unravel the mystery. I play Rose Gray, mother of the accused, and grandmother of the victim Angela (Emma Watson). Dealing with poverty and alcoholism and an already vulnerable mental state, she is faced with »
Netflix’s most powerful women were in attendance at the Rebels and Rule Breakers Luncheon, hosted by the streaming service, Women In Film and SAG-aftra, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday. Guests and panelists included Chelsea Handler, “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” leading lady Krysten Ritter, “Orange is the New Black” showrunner Jenji Kohan and star Laura Prepon, “Grace & Frankie” star Jane Fonda and co-creator Marta Kauffman and “Making a Murderer” creators Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi.
“If you had told me 20 years ago that I would still be working on a successful TV show at 78, I would have said you were crazy,” Fonda told the room. “Television is a great platform for older women, more forgiving in age than movies are.”
But even though certain platforms are more forgiving, it’s still a challenge to keep a show relevant and successful, according to Kohan. The showrunner said that she »
- Maria Cavassuto
By now you have finished Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season two, life is meaningless and you know about that cliffhanger. If you haven't, turn away now for fear of spoilers! Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) found her mom (Lisa Kudrow), made peace with her fear of Velcro and settled in with her wacky friend family, Lillian (Carol Kane), Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) and Titus (Tituss Burgess). But then she got the call; the call from the reverend (Jon Hamm). What does he want? A divorce. Say what?! So what's next? Kemper and Burgess were remaining mum on story details, but they did have a wish for season three: nudity and Titus and Kimmy love scenes. Well, not really. "I feel like there's unfinished stories at »
In a hotel room high above Midtown Manhattan, Ellie Kemper and Carol Kane are crooning the MaCoys' "Hang On Sloopy" across a table at one another, while Tituss Burgess looks on in delight. The impromptu performance broke out after the trio — who, along with Jane Krakowski, form the core of the Netflix comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which premieres its second season on April 15th — were asked what kind of band they'd be. The answer: clearly not the kind that fights offstage. All casts claim they love working together, but these three are next level. »
Six episodes were provided prior to broadcast.
I stand by my praise of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s peerlessly bizarre freshman season. Co-creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock created a world that not only felt weirdly truthful as its characters ran rampant through satisfying emotional beats, but was just plain weird. Robot maids were killed off, Don Draper was a maniacal cult leader, and ATMs gave out negative dollar bills. To put it plainly, Netflix saved a show that undoubtedly would never have seen its due on NBC. The cherry on top was a central theme of individuality, polished to a shine thanks to some welcomely diverse personalities that could have veered into grating stereotypes in lesser hands.
Now that Fey and Carlock have the canvas to run rampant with Netflix’s nebulous time restraints, not to mention a newly devout fanbase that knows the ins and outs of every Peeno »
- Mitchel Broussard
"I'm like a biscotti," Kimmy Schmidt explains. "People act like I'm this sweet cookie, but I'm really this super hard thing, that nobody knows what I am or why I am." Kimmy — an exuberant Midwesterner who spent most of her adolescence and young adulthood imprisoned in an underground bunker by a doomsday cult leader — often confounds the cynical New Yorkers she meets, but she has a pretty good understanding of herself. And Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has an even better sense of what it is and why it is. In the first season, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock made the exact show they wanted to make: a weird comedy populated with misfit characters, constantly juxtaposing Kimmy's sunny disposition with her horrific backstory, and taking place in a New York five or six times more cartoonish than anything Fey and Carlock attempted on 30 Rock. It was a terrific season, but one that »
- Alan Sepinwall
On paper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt still sounds too bizarre to work: a woman escapes from a bunker after 15 years of imprisonment, moves to New York, meets a fabulous struggling actor, becomes his roommate and starts working for an extravagant millionaire. It's the stuff of those bad 1980s movies you watch hungover, but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, now in season two, works so incredibly well that it's one of TV's best comedies. There is no better word to describe Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt than delightful. Ellie Kemper is delightful. Tituss Burgess is delightful. Jane Krakowski is delightful. Carol Kane is delightful. And the guest stars? Forget it. Zosia Mamet as a hipster from Austin, Texas? Spot on. Amy Sedaris as »
The second season of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt arrives on Friday. Here’s what made the first run such unmissable good value…
“We need Kimmy. Stat.”
That was the verdict when a bunch of us emerged battle-worn from a screening of the emotionally draining Room, the Fritzl-inspired story of a woman kidnapped as a teenager and held captive for many years.
Room is a powerful and distressing film. Thanks to actors Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, perhaps even more so than the novel from which it was adapted. It’s a film that leaves you feeling as if you’ve been staring too directly at a bright light. When you blink, the anguish remains imprinted in negative inside your head.
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